Friday, September 26, 2014

Dogs and Diners

by Laurence M. Vance

Americans are dog lovers. In fact, many people love their dogs so much that they take them wherever they can. Some people would even take their dogs out to eat with them if they could.
If they live in California — now they can.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation that revises the California Health and Safety Code relating to outdoor dining facilities. The code currently prohibits live animals from being allowed in a food facility, except under specified conditions — e.g., dogs may be allowed when they are under the control of a uniformed law-enforcement officer or working as service animals accompanying a disabled person.
The new legislation (Assembly Bill No. 1965) authorizes “a food facility to allow a person to bring a pet dog in outdoor dining areas if specified conditions are satisfied.” The bill allows California cities and counties to prohibit such conduct by ordinance.
The proposed legislation was introduced in the California State Assembly in February. It passed the Health Committee in March with only one “no” vote, the Local Government Committee in April with no “no” votes, the full Assembly in May with only one “no” vote, the Senate Health Committee in June with no “no” votes, and the full Senate in August with no “no” votes. It was approved by the governor on August 21.
The pertinent section of the legislation reads as follows:

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